Barr's Irn-Bru - Supporting Scottish Football

McCoist Deserves Rangers Pay

Ibrox Front

On Saturday the sixteenth of May, I sat with my fiancee enjoying a few birthday cocktails in Glasgow city centre. She then excitedly poked my arm and told me to turnaround. Before I had a chance I heard a familiar accent greeting the gentleman sitting just behind me.

I recognised the voice of my hero; Ally McCoist. I casually looked over my shoulder and saw Ally, complete with beard, sitting down and chatting enthusiastically to his friend. Just as my fiancee was asking ‘Is he still on gardening leave?’ McCoist ordered a bottle of rose champagne.

Gardening leave was clearly agreeing with the fifty-two year old but I imagine he’d have still given his right arm to be at Ibrox the next day and coaching his side through the play-offs.

Dave King and Paul Murray have recently suggested that they’d like Mr McCoist to consider accepting a compromise when it came to reaching a settlement with his contract.

King was very diplomatic when talking about the scenario but it was also a bit engineered…

“The fact is Ally is entitled to his money. That was the deal so I don’t think there is any situation to be resolved.

“The question is can one ask him to accommodate the club? He doesn’t have an obligation, doesn’t owe anything to the club.

“It’s a question of whether the club can convince him that, under the new regime, he should give some satisfaction, so to speak.”

Many have questioned McCoist’s stance and some have gone as far as suggesting that the former striker risks losing his legendary status with the clubs support.

Now even if ‘Super Ally’ decides against doing a deal with messrs King and Murray, that decision won’t stop him being Rangers all-time leading goalscorer, winner of nine top flight titles or winner of ten domestic trophies. It also won’t erase the twenty-seven goals McCoist scored against Old Firm rivals Celtic during his fifteen year Gers career.

The fact is that Alistair Murdoch McCoist stood by Rangers Football Club during their darkest days. When various toxic regimes were dragging the club through the mud, the legendary striker turned gaffer was usually the only one left standing being a voice for the fans.

Was Ally the greatest of managers?

Nope. But he also wasn’t helped. For much of the time he had no scouting network put in place. He was constantly facing troublesome directors constantly trying to knife him in the back or short change the fans.

So yes McCoist wasn’t a fantastic manager but he was most certainly a superb ambassador for the club when they needed him the most.

he also managed to guide Rangers beyond the lowest two tiers of Scottish football and get Rangers up to the Championship.

McCoist had a contract and as Dave King has pointed out Rangers are obliged to honour it.

People will say that McCoist has earned more than his fair share in the past three years but would you walk away from a job, where you gave everything and are owed more than just gratitude?

I wouldn’t!

As Rangers announce yet another general meeting, I think the new board have more on their plate than trying to do a deal with Ally McCoist.

Respect his decision and leave him be.

 

Steve Bruce Should Say Goodbye To Hull City

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I like Steve Bruce and I think he is a decent manager but I really can’t come up with many reasons for him hanging around at Hull City AFC.

Last summer Bruce spent around £40m on talent, that was meant to see the squad push for a top ten finish.

Yet on Sunday, the ‘Tigers’ drew 0-0 at home to Manchester United and slipped out of the English Premier League.

It was obviously a dreadful day for all those associated with the club.

Fifty-four year old Bruce was clearly dejected after the game:

“There is talking and soul searching to be done. It is bitter and sad at the moment.”

When questioned about his own future the Hull boss wasn’t convincing:

“We all need a break from each other, we need to get away for the next couple of weeks.”

“Let’s analyse the situation and see where the owner wants to take the club then we will go from there.”

He even dismissed the fact that he had just extended his contract by three more years in March:

“A contract means nothing in football, we all know that.”

You can see why he was reticent when discussing his own job prospects at the KC Stadium.

Bruce went into this season without any thought of a relegation battle. He had an array of stars at his disposal. But things went terribly wrong!

Now obviously luck played its part, injuries to key personnel hampered the teams cause.

But other factors have to fall down at Steve’s door.

Not one of their strikers managed to get into double figures in terms of league goals this term. They spent big on Abel Hernandez, yet he only scored four times and Bruce didn’t seem to fully trust the Uruguayan.

Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez have all the ability in the world but neither showed their class during their loan spells at Hull. Bruce just couldn’t get the best out of them, in fact he failed to get anything out of them!

Defenders like Paul McShane, Alex Bruce, Curtis Davies, Liam Rosenior, James Chester and Maynor Figueroa are all good honest pros but they don’t strike fear into opposing forwards. They are at best low-end EPL players or adequate Championship foot-soldiers. As a former stalwart defender himself, I’d have expect more from Bruce.

The fact Jake Livermore failed a drugs test in the league run-in is a huge slap in the face for Steve Bruce and his team. He showed his manager, team-mates and the fans no respect whatsoever. That can be quite damning for a manager.

This summer is going to be huge for Hull City AFC. Premier League clubs will hover around the fallen club and try and entice the better players to stay in the top flight rather than join Hull in the Championship dog fight. Some of the more arrogant players simply won’t have the stomach for playing in the Championship and will demand moves away.

The club itself will want to cut loose the deadwood that has helped stall the teams fortunes and create the malaise that started the decline.

All of that means that there will be a major rebuilding job happening at the KC Stadium in the coming months.

Does Steve Bruce have the desire to refreshen things yet again? Can he really stop the rot? If so, then why didn’t he do it earlier in this campaign? 

In the last three months of the season, Hull only managed two wins in their last eleven fixtures. Against teams in and around the relegation zone like Burnley, Sunderland and Leicester they failed to record a victory.

The simple fact of the matter is this: When the chips were down Hull City just weren’t good enough and couldn’t turn things around.

For that reason alone, Steve Bruce has to accept that he failed and should probably step aside and let someone new come in and rejuvenate the side!

Broken Brendan Rodgers Should Probably Head For Liverpool Exit

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Liverpool waved goodbye to Steven Gerrard twice in the last nine days. Unfortunately the legendary captain wasn’t afforded a dream swan-song in either his final Anfield appearance, nor in his last game in the Premier League game.

The ‘Reds’ were soundly beaten at home by Crystal Palace and then yesterday they were humiliated at the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke City thumped them 6-1!

Stoke and Palace are good sides, but really shouldn’t be beating Liverpool in such an easy manner.

Those two results, along with quite a few other dismal performances this season, has seen people question whether manager Brendan Rodgers should follow Gerrard out of the Anfield gates.

Liverpool were playing yesterday as if they were already out on the beach enjoying their holidays.

Ultimately the buck stops with the manager and things haven’t been great this season.

Things starting to go wrong last summer before the season had even begun!

Obviously selling Luis Suarez was a major blow. The Uruguayan was the clubs most effective player and could pretty much win games on his own. But in fairness, Liverpool received £75m for Suarez and they simply failed to strengthen/improve their squad.

Defensively they can be extremely weak and vulnerable. That has been the case since Rodgers took over in the summer of 2012.

Simon Mignolet is a good keeper but isn’t great. He still fails to command his area and suffers from confidence issues. Again we knew this last summer but nothing was done.

In the forward areas; Liverpool need to freshen things up. Daniel Sturridge is a proven Premier League goalscorer but has been very unlucky with injuries. So you need more goals in the squad to help out when Sturridge isn’t there.

I don’t think Rodgers has done enough, in terms of tactics, to help Mario Balotelli integrate with the rest of the squad. Fabio Borrini hasn’t showed anything to suggest he deserves to be at Anfield. Rickie Lambert is a fine pro and deserves a lot of credit for the impact he made with Southampton in the Premier League but he isn’t good enough for a really top drawer side.

The fact that Rodgers went with a first eleven without a recognised striker proves that they aren’t strong enough in the forward department.

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You then look at the squad minus Steven Gerrard and ask if they have any strong leaders left in the dressing room. Maybe Martin Skrtel but his future is also in doubt. In time, perhaps Jordan Henderson too but not many others.

Which begs the question… Why did they not do more to keep a player that has been with them since the age of nine and who helped them win the Champions League in 2005?

In the last two weeks of the season, every crack and frailty that we’ve seen at Liverpool FC under Brendan Rodgers has reappeared.

The Northern Irish manager seems to struggle to adapt his style or tactics, especially when the chips are down.

The best managers adapt and find ways to get the best out of their squads. Can we really say that about Rodgers?

Everything seems to be going wrong for him in Merseyside at the moment.

They have failed to secure a Champions League place, they haven’t won a trophy in the last three years and they are losing heavily to mid table opposition.

Then you have a young player with great potential like Raheem Sterling asking to leave the club. It begins to look like a rat jumping from a sinking ship!

It’s going to be a huge summer for Liverpool. 

They need to replace the influential Steven Gerrard, they need two new strikers, a couple of solid defenders and a top class keeper.

That could mean that the ‘Reds’ owners need to open the vaults again at Anfield and spend another £100m, if they have ambitions of getting back into the Champions League.

But do they trust Brendan Rodgers to spear head that huge recruitment drive? Can he really persuade established international star players to the North West of England? 

Or will they be looking at the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti and think that these men are better bets for success? 

I get the feeling that many of the Anfield support have lost confidence in Rodgers and the dressing room may be following suit.

Even Brendan Rodgers himself looked dejected and broken yesterday.

The forty-two year olds soundbites after the game didn’t fill anyone with any optimism that he was the man to turn things around.

He stated:

“I’ve always said if the owners want me to go, then I go”

That seems like a weak-ass answer if ever I’ve heard one.

As always, Rodgers believes he has the answers that will resolve the problems. But alas Liverpool fans have heard it all before and so far he seems to lack any real long-term solutions that will see the team score more or concede less.

You really get the feeling that the last nine days have shown that Brendan Rodgers really isn’t getting the best out of his squad and doesn’t have his men fully committed to his vision for the future!

Brendan Rodgers isn’t a bad man, nor is he a bad manager. I just don’t think he is the right man or manager for Liverpool.

Nir Bitton Won’t Be Leaving Celtic For £5m This Summer

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Sunderland have only just secured their English Premier League (EPL) future for another season and they are already looking at strengthening their squad, so they don’t spend next season fighting off relegation yet again.

According to reports Celtic’s Nir Bitton could be topping the ‘Black Cats’ wish-list.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila has stated that he believes Bitton won’t be going anywhere during the next transfer window:

“He is going to stay here and try to help us qualify for the Champions League.”

We’ve obviously heard things like that before and then come the thirty-first of August those players depart Parkhead for the bright lights of the EPL.

Since I can remember the best players in Scotland’s top flight have departed for the riches that England has to offer.

But these days Celtic seem to have found the near perfect formula, when it comes to selling off their top talent to English teams. It comes with having a sound business model and a huge reputation.

Basically the time and price has to be right for Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell to approve any departure away from the Glasgow club.

Nir Bitton has performed extremely well for the Scottish champions this season. Since the turn of the year, the Israeli international has been excelling in Celtic’s midfield.

The disciplined performer has also allowed Deila to get the best out of captain Scott Brown and seen Stefan Johansen revel in a position further forward.

Having a strong holding midfield player would certainly improve Sunderland’s pool.

But there is no rush for Celtic to sell the twenty-three year old. He signed in 2013 for £700k and is only halfway through his current deal.

That usually means that the Glasgow side will keep hold of their man for one more season. That will allow them to sell-on another star, who will generate a greater transfer fee. They also usually only allow one

Generally I can spot who will leave Celtic Park; Ki Sung-Yueng, Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Fraser Forster all left at the right time.

So if I was putting money on a star player leaving the ‘Hoops’ this summer, I’d imagine that it would be Virgil van Dijk rather than Bitton. The Dutch defender has had two fantastic years with the Scottish Premiership champs and has been constantly linked with a big move down south.

By selling Van Dijk now they will probably get a premium fee, roughly between £8m-£12m.

See the reported £5m fee that has been mentioned in regards to Nir Bitton, just isn’t that appetising to the Celtic board.

I would imagine that Mr Lawwell would guess that he’d get the same kind of fee in 2016, as long as Nir doesn’t decline in talent.

The club would also believe that they would have a better chance of getting into the Champions League group stages with the defensive player in the heart of their midfield. Reaching the group stages would be worth more than gaining a quick profit on Nir Bitton.

If the Glasgow side were to reach that lucrative stage of the Champions League and the midfielder shines in Europe’s most elite competition then his fee will only grow.

I doubt Nir is in a hurry to leave Parkhead, he is still learning and he has a chance to get Champions League exposure next term. I’m sure the Israeli has enough confidence in his own ability to wait another year and then join a decent EPL side in 2016!

Simply I don’t think the money will be right this summer.

Raheem Sterling’s Agent Is Dragging Transfer Saga Into The Gutter!

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I really couldn’t care less if Raheem Sterling wants to leave Liverpool.

What I do care about is respect and Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward has shown little to no respect for his clients current employers or their supporters.

Ward attacked the Anfield club in quotes published by the Evening Standard.

Here are some of my favourites…

“He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week. He is not signing.”

“My job is to make sure I do the best with them. If people say I am bad at my job, or they are badly advised it does not matter.”

“Carragher is a knob. Everybody knows it. Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of them things matter to me. It is not relevant.”

The second quote about about doing his best by his clients seems to contradict his first statement. What kind of agent would really tell a client to turn down a £900k a week contract? Answer: A stupid one! Not that Ward would really do that if Liverpool were crazy enough to offer such a deal (obviously they wouldn’t).

This outburst has made it impossible for Liverpool to take Mr Ward seriously. It will also help turn the Liverpool fans totally against his client.

Now that probably won’t trouble Aidy Ward, as he’ll see that as a great way to get Raheem away from Anfield. But the fact remains that the twenty year old has a deal until 2017.

Of course he could buy out that final year, which could force Liverpool to accept a substantial bid, this up and coming transfer window. But by being so disrespectful and aggressive towards the club, Liverpool could dig in and let Sterling rot in the reserves for a year and stall his career.

Surely all you needed to do was hold a meeting with Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers and the clubs hierarchy and hand in a written transfer request.

Be a man and tell them straight to their face that you want out. It’s hard to argue with honesty.

Surely an employer that helped launch your career and get you to the stage where you are one of the world’s most wanted players deserves more respect. As do the fans that have supported you throughout your fledgling career.

Acting like a brat or letting a brash agent act as your mouthpiece could also deter potential suitors. Again something a top advisor would think about in order to protect their client.

Even if Jamie Carragher is a ‘knob’, why on earth would a professional agent say that? It will be Sterling that will be the one that bumps into Carragher in the future. Again there is simply no need to be so disrespectful.

Now Aidy Ward can spend all summer negotiating with other clubs as he tries to whore out Raheem’s services but until Liverpool agree to sell him, then they own Sterling.

That means he will be contractually obliged to do certain things for his employers, for instance meet fans at sponsored events. I would mark Sterling down for every fan project going and make sure he attends and faces the wrath of the supporters. If he no shows he gets fined.

Players are spoiled and think they have no one to answer to. That is mainly down to greedy, arrogant agents who seem to only lookout for themselves, although they’ll say that they are only looking after their clients best wishes.

I am a big believer in honesty. As I’ve said Raheem Sterling should just come out and say ‘I want to leave Liverpool FC‘. Fnas will moan, of course they will, but at least you’ve been up-font and acted like an adult.

By slapping a club like Liverpool in the face, you just look bad and ungrateful.

Football is being ruined by agents that are no better than parasites. They (and their clients) have no understanding of the word loyalty and to be honest Liverpool will now be better off just selling Raheem Sterling!

Is John Guidetti good enough for Serie A Amid Summer Move Talk?

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On-loan Celtic striker John Guidetti is a curious case. He is a player that has promised plenty over the course of his fledgling career but is yet to truly deliver on that potential and prove himself to be a forward of the very highest calibre.

Yes, he enjoyed a goal-laden season with Feyenoord back in 2011/12, but that was three years ago now and is the exception rather than the norm on a CV that has seen him largely flatter to deceive in British football and led to questions been raised on a regular basis as to his attitude.

Manchester City saw enough of him while in his teens to convince them that he was worth drafting into their academy system, and productive runs at U18 and reserve level suggested that they had unearthed a rough diamond ready to be polished into a Premier League star of the future.

His route to that level at the Etihad Stadium was always likely to be blocked, though, forcing the Swede to look elsewhere for important competitive minutes and a window in which to showcase his talents on the senior stage.

Guidetti has, however, rather fluffed those lines.

Burnley took him to the Championship in 2010, but got just one goal out of him, while Stoke City – excited by his showings in the Eredivisie – snapped him up in January 2014, only to then leave him rooted to the bench and unable to make any kind of impact at the Britannia Stadium.

Frustrated and still some way down the pecking order at City, a switch to Celtic last summer appeared to make sense for all concerned.

A bright opening to the season bode well and sparked all kinds of ludicrous rumours regarding where the 23-year-old was heading and how much would be paid to get him there during the January transfer window.

In the end, no move materialised as his form dipped and he fell off the radar.

Guidetti has been unable to rediscover that spark, slipping down the attacking pecking order at Parkhead in the process, but he talks a good game and remains confident that he will be competing at a top level in 2015/16. Bridges back to Rotterdam appear to have been burned, if reports of excessive salary demands are anything to go by, but murmurs of a possible switch to Italy have been doing the rounds and would certainly appeal to a man who spent time training with Sampdoria at the age of fifteen.

Serie A is not the Eredivisie, though, and Guidetti’s efforts in England suggest that such a step up in class would be difficult for him to bridge.

Italian football may not be as defensively minded as it once was, but it is a division in which hard work and creativity is king – as the efforts of those leading Serie A betting markets in the top goalscorer stakes such as Carlos Tevez, Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala have highlighted – and any forward lacking in those qualities will be quickly found out.

Celtic have refused to throw in the towel just yet, with Ronny Deila recently claiming:

“He has to come and say he wants to play for Celtic and then we can talk about it. If not then he will go away. We have done everything we can and he wanted to wait. I speak with him regularly but we will have to wait and see what happens.”

Do Celtic need him though?

If not, is he good enough for the top-flights in Italy or Spain? Difficult questions to answer as his efforts to date continue to place in the ‘must do better’ category and, at the age of 23, that is a tag he needs to shake, and shake off quickly, if he is to become the player he once threatened to be… The next Zlatan!

Have Rangers Got Enough About Them To Sink Hibs?

Ibrox Front

Tonight Rangers host Hibs in the first leg of their play-off semi final tie, yes it is all a bit long winded.

You’ll struggle to find a more important fixture between these two sides. The prize of becoming one step closer to a place in the Scottish Premiership is paramount for both sides.

The Edinburgh team edged the Glasgow giants out of second place in the Championship, thus meaning Rangers needed to play Queen of the South (QOS) twice while the Hibees enjoyed sun soaked training sessions in the Spanish sun.

To be honest that could and should have played into Rangers hands. With Alan Stubbs’ men undergoing warm weather training sessions yet lacking a competitive edge, the Gers side could have gained massive momentum by impressing with two well polished displays against the Dumfries side.

But alas after a decent 2-1 win at Palmerston Park, Rangers made a bit of a meal of it at Ibrox where they eventually edged through after an uninspiring 1-1 draw.

The Gers side couldn’t make their chances pay in the first half and then sloppy defending allowed The Doonhamers to take a lead against the run of play. That was a lead that lasted until the hour mark, when Rangers captain Lee Wallace slammed home from close range.

After that though QOS pushed Rangers all the way and during the last period of play they were the team in the ascendancy. A packed Ibrox crowd often looked on with eyes peering through fingers as the opponents had chances cleared off the line, last ditch tackles were made and corners flew into the Gers penalty area.

It certainly wasn’t a dominant Rangers performance, that would strike fear into the Hibs players. No doubt Stubbs, who was watching on as a BT Sport pundit, was actually looking forward to his sides trip through to Govan tonight.

The fact is that although Rangers are capable of beating almost anyone in Scotland on their day, those days don’t seem to be as frequent as they once were.

Too many in the squad are mediocre at best and a few are over the hill. Not enough in the pool are playing full of confidence. Nerves engulf the side, especially when things don’t click straight away. Chances are wasted and too many passes are misplaced.

No side comes to Ibrox, full or not, with any fear!

Hibs have won their last three league games quite convincingly. The Leith side have also won three out of the four previous league meetings with Rangers this season.

Since the turn of the year Alan Stubbs seems to be getting more of a top flight response from his players. With midfielder Scott Allan deservedly winning the Championships PFA Player of the Year award.

During the league campaign Hibs also had a better scoring record than their opponents, impressively they only conceded thirty-two times in the league (whereas Rangers conceded thirty-nine).

That said Hibs have a few questions hanging over them too, coming into this fixture.

Have they got the bottle in the bigger games?

The biggest game against Rangers came in their last encounter in March, where the light blues won 2-0 at Easter Road. Then came their 1-0 defeat to Falkirk in the Scottish Cup semi final. That ‘bottle’ question has to be answered.

As I’ve previously stated Rangers had a superb opportunity to come into this tie with momentum and their fans fully confident but alas like much of this season they have scrapped through with an uninspiring display.

They really need to step it up a level, if they can negotiate their way past a fairly competent Hibernian side.

I have no doubt that either of these clubs could knock out the other given some luck and a better level of performance but I also think that whomever reaches the final then they’ll probably come unstuck against Motherwell.

So don’t be shocked if both Rangers and Hibs remain in the Championship for another year.

Can Leicester City Keep Hold Of Saviour Kasper Schmeichel?

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Leicester City celebrated their away draw with Sunderland as if they had won the league. In actual fact they’d just secured their English Premier League status for a second year.

That achievement was just as spectacular in many ways, considering that they had spent much of the season in the drop-zone and looked down and out just a few months ago. In March they were seven points away from safety!

But then Nigel Pearson’s men turned things around and went on a superb run in April, that propelled them up to their current position of fourteenth in the league.

In their last eight fixtures, the Foxes have picked up nineteen points which included six victories.

That successful run also saw Leicester keep five cleansheets. There is no doubt that a strong defence and an inspired goalkeeper can be the difference in many games and gain a side more valuable points.

So with so many people looking on at the highly impressive performances coming out of the King Power Stadium, clubs could now be taking a look at goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and making enquiries this summer.

The Danish goalkeeper missed a big chunk of the season due to broken metatarsal he suffered back in early December. Thankfully though the twenty-eight year old was back in time to help in his sides end of season survival bid.

Like his father (Peter Schmeichel) before him, Kasper commands those defenders that sit just in front of him and can produce match winning saves.

It has taken a bit longer than expected to see the younger Schmeichel playing regularly in the Premier League but he has proven in recent months that he deserves to be there on his own merits.

With so many teams possibly on the lookout for a new man between their sticks next season, can Leicester City hold onto one of their prized assets?

As many as eight Premier League sides could be ready to purchase a new goalie.

For instance, if Man United were to sell David de Gea to Real Madrid, they may just look at bringing in Schmeichel. Obviously Kasper’s father Peter is a legend at Old Trafford and Louis van Gaal could bring in the Leicester City man with the view that he could rival Victor Valdes for the United number one jersey.

If one of Europe’s top clubs make Spurs an offer that they can’t refuse for Hugo Lloris, then they too might see Schmeichel as a readymade replacement.

Speculation surrounds Tim Krul’s future at Newcastle Utd. If the Dutchman is allowed to leave and the Toon stay up, you’d expect a big turnaround in players with Mike Ashley ready to spend hard cash to stave off another season like this one.

Arsenal have recently been linked with a move for the Dane, while Liverpool’s plans for Simon Mignolet remain up in the air.

Any really big offer could test the Foxes’ resolve.

But fear not Leicester City fans, its not all bad news. There are plenty of signs that suggest that Kasper Schmeichel is more than happy to stay on with the East Midland’s outfit.

Firstly the Danish international has recently come out and stated his admiration for boss Nigel Pearson…

‘All the praise in the world he deserves,’ 

‘The boss has been immense. He is the best manager I have played under.’

Then we have to factor in the promise of first team football in the top flight that the keeper gets by staying with Leicester. When Kasper left Man City back in 2009, he showed the world that he wasn’t happy picking up a paycheque whilst sitting on the bench. Would he risk going to a more established Premier League team if it meant more time on the bench and less game time on the pitch?

So will Kasper Schmeichel really jump on this summer’s goalkeeping transfer merry-go-round?

I don’t think so, unless both he and his club get an offer they just can’t refuse!

Bringing Back Dick Advocaat Could Be Wrong Move For Rangers!

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Back in March, I stated that Rangers could be best served by bringing in an up and coming young coach and hiring an experienced director of football to help move the club up to the next level. It could offer a vibrancy that can change the whole mood of the football club!

I also said that if that plan was to work, then it would be imperative that the Ibrox club brought in the right personnel.

That brings me to the latest news reports that suggest that former Gers gaffer Dick Advocaat could be making a return to Ibrox as the new director of football.

Current Rangers boss Stuart McCall has also told the press that Advocaat has visited him at Ibrox within the last month…

“Dick Advocaat was up the other day and came to speak to me in my office. I don’t know if he was measuring up the curtains and the carpets but it was nice to see him. We had a good chat.”

For me, well I believe that would a step in the wrong direction for Rangers.

Remember Rangers are desperately trying to reach top flight football again and bring back the successful years. At the moment they’re mediocre at best and will need a lot of luck if they are going to secure promotion through the play-offs.

Would bringing back Dick Advocaat really bring back the glory years?

There is no doubt that the ‘Little General’ has enjoyed a vastly successful career in football management. The Dutch manager has won fifteen trophies in his twenty-eight year managerial career. Five of those titles came at Ibrox (where he won two league championships, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup).

Dick has almost certainly helped save Sunderland from relegation, after he was brought in by the English Premier League club earlier this year. This latest chapter in the Dutchman’s lengthy career has seen his stock once again rise in the British isles.

But let’s not forget that Advocaat’s reckless spending back at the turn of the century helped create the financial meltdown that soon engulfed the football club and which would eventually see the business liquidated in 2012.

Now obviously Dick Advocaat can’t be held fully responsible for the financial crisis that crippled Rangers and from which they have never fully recovered from. David Murray handed over the cash and the board OK’d the controversial EBT scheme, that saw the taxman ruthlessly go after the club’s board.

But the sixty-seven year old’s Gers legacy has been tainted by the millions he spent during his stint in charge at Ibrox and the fallout it helped create.

As the Glaswegian club look to evolve and grow as a new improved outfit, now isn’t the best time to step back in time.

Since 2012, Rangers have continually been bashed for not moving with the times and being stuck in the past. Former manager Ally McCoist was blamed by the fans as he stuck with old pros like Lee McCulloch and bringing back formers players such as Stevie Smith and Richard Forster, instead of being more imaginative in the transfer market or trusting the younger squad players.

Surely the new Rangers board run making the same mistakes by bringing back Advocaat.

The Little General can be a divisive figure. He tried being a director of football at Rangers before and lasted mere months. I’d imagine that he can only work with a manager that can put up with his meddling, is that really what Rangers need at this moment in time?

Dick Advocaat famously won the treble with Rangers in his debut season in charge but alas that is history now and the Rangers board should look elsewhere for someone more suited to the director of football role and show the world that Ibrox stadium is no longer an old boys club!

The time is right for someone with experience of being a director of football to come in with fresh ideas that can only improve the Rangers Football club.

Leigh Griffiths And Charlie Adam Deserve Their Scotland Recalls

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Gordon Strachan has announced his latest Scotland squad. The twenty-six man squad, who will face Qatar at Easter Road and travel to Ireland for an important qualifier in June, features recalls for Stoke City’s Charlie Adam and Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths.

In my opinion, both players deserve their call-ups.

Charlie Adam can be very hit or miss but at the moment he’s impressing in the English Premier League. Stoke boss Mark Hughes seems to know when to use him and when he’s more suited for the bench, that seems to have allowed the Scots midfielder to flourish in the last few months of this campaign. Obviously everyone was banging on about his wonder goal against Chelsea, where he scored past Thibaut Courtois from inside of his own half but in truth Adam has done extremely well scoring four goals in his last ten league outings.

Don’t get me wrong he’s still a bit of a show-pony, who tries too hard to produce the sublime but when on form he deserves to be in the Scotland squad. I’d play him in the Qatar friendly but bench him for the important Ireland qualifier, when we need more disciplined heads in the heart of midfield. Has a gifted left-foot that could be useful towards the end of a game if we need to add pressure from a set-piece or two.

At Celtic Park in 2015, no one has delivered quite as much in terms of goals as Leigh Griffiths. The striker has thirteen league goals and nineteen in all competitions. Impressively out of those nineteen strikes all but four have come in this calendar year. After finding it tough at the start of the season to figure into new Celtic boss Ronny Deila’s plans, Griffiths kept his head down and waited on his opportunity to shine. Then as John Guidetti’s goals dried up, in and around the turn of the year, Leigh stepped up and took his chance. In his last seven appearances he’s banged in eight goals, helping Celtic clinch the League Cup and the league title.

Question marks remain over Griffiths ability to lead the line on the international stage. He failed to score in the 252 minutes of European football he played during this term. Griffiths has also failed to net in his first four Scotland caps but alas I think it’s still too early to judge. He needs more minutes on the park and a run of games at that level. At the moment he’s in a rich vein of form, can any other forward in the latest Scotland squad say that? Nope.

For me, Leigh Griffriths should lead the line against the Qatari’s and if he impresses in that game, then he should keep his place for the Irish game at the Aviva Stadium on the thirteenth of June.

It’s nice to see a player delighted with his call-up too, with Leigh tweeting…

“Ain’t a better honour than pulling on a strip for your country! DELIGHTED to be called into the squad. Really looking forward to the games”

Two more inclusions gained my attention.

Firstly it’s nice to see yet another player from the Scottish Premiership receive an international call-up.

Dundee have impressed this season and their form has been aided by goalkeeper Scott Bain. The twenty-three year old has been given his first nod for the national team selection which is fantastic for his club, the Scottish Premier League and the player himself. With Allan McGregor struggling to regain his first team place at Hull in recent weeks, it makes sense for Strachan to have a look at another keeper. Although Partick Thistle’s Scott Fox might feel he should have received another call-up considering he’s kept five more clean sheets in one less appearance during the 2014-15 campaign.

Versatile man Charlie Mulgrew has also been named in the pool, despite having missed the last five or so months due to a hamstring complaint. But as he nears full fitness again, it shows that Strachan depends heavily on the Celtic man that he’s rushed back in to the fold. Mulgrew was named man of the match back in November when Scotland beat Ireland at Celtic Park. As I’ve said previously, the Scottish mindset needs to be disciplined for the away qualifier in Dublin and Charlie Mulgrew will definitely give you that.

All in all it’s yet another solid, decent looking Scotland squad that we’ve come to expect from this era under Gordon Strachan. As always some will feel that players have been wrongly overlooked, while I still question why we continually see Barry Bannan in these selections. But at the end of the day, if Strachan can get the best out of these players then no one will complain that loudly!